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I'm Thinking RB's.

So NU had its annual fall scrimmage Saturday, which means there's only twelve more days left until football season. I, as someone who lives in New York, didn't make the trek to Kenosha, Wisconsin, so my main sources of information were an article on (with the headline "NU holds successful scrimmage" which makes me wonder if they would've called it an "unsuccessful scrimmage" if everybody had been really bad), various posts (is it a bad sign that this blog has forced me to start routinely checking that site?) and a highlight video also on

The consensus I'm getting is thus: Mike Kafka really, really, really, really needs to stop throwing into the flat without at least pump-faking the guy who is right there out of the way, John Placensia actually is the world's greatest, and our running back situation is now officially up for grabs.

I've tried my hand at predicting our RB situation before on this blog. And every time I try, it gets more and more confusing.
When last year ended, I assumed this year would feature Stephen Simmons as a feature back. When I covered spring football, I asked coach Fitz and various other coaches, and they each gave me variants on "well, it's spring ball, and nothing's certain... but Stephen's the most experienced." I started to see Simmons as the more prominent back in a field which would have a lot of specialization with guys coming in on different downs. After the spring game, I became convinced that we would be looking at a RB by committee approach with Simmons, Jeravin Matthews, and Alex Daniel.

Now, I don't know what to think. In the spring game, Simmons and Matthews rushed a combined six times for two yards. Meanwhile, Arby Fields is the toast of the online Northwestern community, and looks like he'll play this season, whereas in my running backs post linked to above, I pictured him redshirting and didn't discuss him until I'd already discussed every other NU running back.
Fields is sentimental being painted as Tyrell Sutton's predecessor due to his similar build and his being assigned the same number. Now, who knows if he'll be that great - he certainly doesn't have the high school pedigree Sutton had - but NU definitely appears to be counting on Arby in some role this fall.
To complicate matters, people are also saying good things about Scott Concannon, and Jacob Schmidt led all rushers in the scrimmage with 45 yards and a touchdown. So every running back on the roster is getting some sort of praise.

I officially would not be surprised if any combination of Simmons, Fields, Matthews, and Daniel play this fall. They all have different skill sets, and none of them is clearly a better solution than the others. If I had to guess, I'd say they'd get carries in the order I listed directly above - I think it would be silly to make Arby lose his redshirt so he can be our third-string running back, although I guess Matthews did it last year - but, to be honest, I have no idea, and neither does anybody who isn't a member of the Northwestern coaching staff. We'll have to wait and see how they get used against Towson, which, in my head quickly turning into less of a game and more of an opportunity to find out about who's actually going to play.